CHO CHAMPION AFTER THREE-HOLE PLAYOFF AT HANMI BANK JUNIOR OPEN
Patipaksiri wins championship at 1-over-par at Robinson Ranch Golf Club
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Rak Cho of Brea, Calif., was named champion of the Boys Division in the Hanmi Bank Junior Open Thursday after a three-hole playoff with Jordan Lee of Tarzana, Calif., and Jake Sarnoff of Manhattan Beach, Calif. Cho finished the final round with a tournament total of 1-under-par 215 at the Robinson Ranch Golf Club's Valley Course. In the Girls Division, Lalita Patipaksiri of Cypress, Calif., finished the tournament at 1-over-par 217 to record her first American Junior Golf Association victory.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Hanmi Bank Junior Open was a 54-hole stroke play event featuring 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from nine states, with 89 players from California. The event was staged on Robinson Ranch Golf Club's Valley Course with boys tees set at 6,864 yards and girls tees at 5,910 yards. Past champions of the event include Sam Chien, Tom Lo, Jennie Lee and Rachel Morris.
Cho carded three birdies and four bogeys Thursday and finished the final round at 2-over par 74 to earn a spot in the playoff with Sarnoff and Lee. Sarnoff fell out of the race after the first playoff hole while Cho and Lee battled through two more. After puting his ball in the water behind No. 18 green, Cho holed out for par to give him the one-stroke lead he needed to win the tournament.
“I couldn't believe I put the ball in the water on No. 18,” Cho said. “I put it short of the flagstick the first time through. My strategy was to get closer the next time around and I ended up misreading and going too far.”
Lee and Sarnoff tied for second with a tournament total of 1-under-par 215. Taking fourth was T.J. Vogel of Cooper City, Fla., at 218, and John Huh of Montrose, Calif., finished fifth at 3-over par 219.
Patipaksiri began Thursday's round carding three birdies in the first four holes, which she says boosted her confidence as she continued the final round of play. After a double bogey No. 8, Patipaksiri knew she had to change her momentum in order to keep the lead through the blustery back nine.
“The wind was a lot worse on the back nine today, so club selection was more important than it was during the first and second rounds,” Patipaksiri said. “Taking my time and choosing the right club kept me in play.”
Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., finished in second place with a three-day total of 221, and Danielle Kang of Oak Park, Calif., finished in third place at 225.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the Hanmi Bank Junior Open, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.